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Davis, California

Sunday, July 21, 2024

Sustainability celebrated through creation

Nearly 100 UC Davis students, alumni, faculty and community members gathered at the Domes on Friday to celebrate Earth Day. And to build a bench out of trash.

The bench, comprised of Portable Landfill Devices (PLDs) and earthen-based concrete, is a symbol of sustainability that should last decades.

“A lot of times these ideas on sustainability are focused on developing countries, but we have the same problem locally with trash,” said Brennan Bird, UC Davis alumnus and former Domes resident, in a past interview with The California Aggie. “This technology is just as relevant here as it is in a developing country.”

PLDs are plastic bottles stuffed with plastic-film trash and then compressed to be used as bricks. For the past two months, participants have been compressing their trash for the bench. On Friday, they worked from 9 a.m. until sundown.

“It’s amazing how many people this project has brought together in the Davis community,” said Frank Loge, civil and environmental engineering professor and sponsor of the project, in a press release. “It serves as a great educational resource for teaching people about how much plastic garbage we produce each day, and how ‘waste’ can actually be used as a building material.”

Bird and Samantha Lubow, sophomore community and regional development major, will give presentations about the bench and sustainable living at the Undergraduate Research Conference on Saturday. In addition, 16 students are receiving academic credit for the project through the Education for Sustainable Living Program.

The bench will remain at the Domes – a cooperative on campus that houses 26 students. Student Housing announced this year that it would not be renewing leases for residents, and that the structures will be bulldozed in August. Domes residents, however, are still trying to save their housing community and hope innovative building techniques, such as PLDs, can be used in redesigning the Domes.

– Janelle Bitker


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